EU probes Microsoft's security software practices

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows Microsoft logo

(Reuters) -The European Commission is probing if Microsoft is preventing customers from relying on certain security software from its competitors, according to a document that regulators sent to at least one rival in January, seen by Reuters.

Companies over the years have complained about Microsoft's bundling services and its cloud-computing practices, which European regulators have investigated. Microsoft has said it has worked to address rivals' concerns.

The European Commission, which serves as the EU's competition watchdog, is examining Microsoft's Entra ID software, previously known as Azure Active Directory.

The software lets companies control who can log into their cloud-based apps. Regulators have sought to understand, among other questions, if Microsoft customers are able to use only rival software to authenticate into Microsoft services, or if they must also use Entra ID, according to the document seen by Reuters.

"The Commission has received several complaints regarding Microsoft, including in relation to its product Azure, which we are assessing based on our standard procedures," a spokesperson for the agency said in an emailed statement.

The Information earlier reported the news on Tuesday of the commission's probe, citing a document sent to a Microsoft rival.

Alphabet's Google this week ramped up its criticism of Microsoft's cloud-computing practices, saying its rival is seeking a monopoly that would hurt the growth of emerging technologies like generative artificial intelligence. Microsoft has rejected the claim.

Microsoft did not answer Reuters' request for comment.

(Reporting by Harshita Mary Varghese and Jeffrey Dastin, additional reporting by Jaspreet Singh; Editing by Maju Samuel and Christopher Cushing)